How to Build a Nice CornHole Set

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About: I am an junior in high school and a member of FRC team 95. I love tinkering and helped found the makerspace club/class at my school. I I love to work with wood, metal, clay, paper, yarn, fabric and gears. I ...

In school about 3 weeks ago my somebody in my woodshop class was building a cornhole set. While I helped them with the assembly, I realized that I do not have a set, and I decided to build one. I got on google and built one according to the international standard for cornhole following a DIY video. The project was made of plywood and 2x4s. When I had finished it, I tried to move it out of the shop, and realized that it weighed over 40 for the full set. 40 lbs of dense, heavy wood, with 2x4s that were liable to twist and bend, resulting in a crooked frame. I decided to abandon the project, and start over, making my own set from my own design. What follows is my much more organized approach with pictures

Step 1: Making the Main Board

Choosing your base wood is fairly easy. For this set, I choose pine, because it is a very light wood. and I like the coloration patterns. One you have selected your wood, take the rough plank over to the chop saw, and measure 4 ft. Cut, 2-4 4ft sections depending on your width of wood plank.The total width of the wood planks, should be about 24". Use a table saw, or a edger, to cut off about 1/8 of the board on both sides, so that the planks have a smooth face for gluing up.

Step 2: Gluing Up the Main Board

For gluing up the main boards, a lot of smaller clamps is preferable to a few big ones, because it is important to have the same number of clamps on the front and back of the board to get a fairly straight board. Smear wood glue on the inside edges, on all of the pieces, and start to clamp. Start of by putting 2 clamps on the front, tight enough to barely hold themselves up. turn the plank around, and put another 2 on the back. Once there are 2 clamps on the front and 2 on the back, then tighten them down as tight as they can get, and add more clamps until you have between 6-10. My rule of thumb is add clamps until it is to heavy to pick up easily, resulting in a clamp shortage in my school's shop. After 24-36 hrs it is safe to unclamp the wood.

Step 3: Hardwood Edgeing

Now that the pine boards are glued up, and are complete, it is time to start the hardwood edging. Trim down the main boards so it is 43" long, and 19" wide. All edges need to be flat and straight. Set the boards aside and find a piece of hardwood that goes well with the main board. Rip the board into 2.5" wide boards at least 4' long. Cut 2 boards so they are 43" long, and 2 boards to be 24" long. Use a hand planer or a mechanized planer to plane the strips of wood to the same thickness as the main boards.

Step 4: Glueing the Hardwood On

Smear a thick layer of glue onto the 43" boards and the long sides of the main boards. Once glue is evenly spread along the edge, line it up and clamp it. Again because this needs to be flat, spread clamps evenly on the front and the back. Let it sit for 24 hrs, then use some form of saw to trim any excess of the top and bottom. Spread glue on the 24" segments, and the short board edges, and clamp up. Start off the clamping for this by using a Perry clamp, or a 2 handled clamp, to hold the board on straightly. Then use a long clamp to pull the boards together. Let sit 24-36 hrs.

Step 5: Making and Attaching the Back Frame

Plane the large boards down to 1/2 inch in small increments, careful to not damage the wood, or take to much of in one pass. Cut 2 4' boards, and 2 22.5" boards, and rip them to be 1" wide and 3/4" thick. Screw the wood together so it forms a long box that is 2'x4'. Screw this to the less pretty side of your large boards.

Step 6: Making the Hole Part

Measure and mark a line 9" down from the top and 12" from either side. This will be the center of the hole. Mark a circle around this center with a diameter of 6" or a radius of 3". Clamp the boards to a table so the sketched lines are over the edge and use a 1/2 drill bit, and drill holes spaced around the circle, right next to the line, on the inside of the circle. Check and see if the boards are secure, then use a jigsaw to roughly cut out the circle, using several passes to get right on the line. Sand the circles with 60 grit sand paper, and then 120, 180, 360, and 520, until the hole is splinter free.

Step 7: Building Legs.

Cut 2 legs about 1 foot long and round off one end on a sander or a jigsaw. Prop up the boards with legs, and measure how high the back of the boards are from the ground, perpendicular to the ground. The back of the boards need to be 12" high, so cut the legs short until the back of the boards are 1 foot of the ground. Drill a hole 1 inch in from the edge, on the top of the boards, and use a long screw with a 3/4 inch segment near the head, clear of threads, to attach the legs. The legs fold in to the center, and will be very close to touching, but be able to open with a bit of force. I.E. they should be stiff, but moveable. If cracking is heard upon opening the legs, stop, loosen the screw, and try again. For a more solid way to attach the legs, use a small carriage bolt in lieu of a screw.

Step 8: Finishing

Sand the boards heavily using 360 grit. Apply a thin layer of polyurethane, let dry, and sand again. Repeat 2-3 times until the boards are super smooth, and if water is poured on it, it just beads up. Take your boards outside, and play some cornhole.

Have fun

For those interested, the set on the red floor, is my first plywood version.

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